An Exerpt (in highlighted purple italics below)is taken from one of my all time favorite books! (In My Father’s Vineyard, by Wayne Jacobsen)
I have led multiple small groups through this incredible book study. It offers very powerful principles that have been applied to raising my children, building relationships, leading people and walking out every single day of my own life, abiding in Him, “In My Father’s Vineyard”, one season at a time. Because stuff this good never grows old….and is meant to be shared often, I decided to pull it from the shelf, dust it off and crack it open again. I hope it speaks to you today.
***************** IN EVERY GRAPE, the history of the vine is told. If it was a good year and the vineyard was properly cared for, the fruit will burst with sweetness. If the vineyard was neglected, the fruit will be small and tart. FRUIT DOESN’T LIE.
The truth of a branch’s life is found in the harvest. The branch that remains in the Vine will reap an abundance of fruit, useful to the Master in extending his kingdom. His character, developed in the branch, will demonstrate his love and grace to others. However, there is a less joyful side to the harvest. The branch that did not pursue friendship with Jesus wholeheartedly but neglected spiritual nourishment will face a sad reality at harvest: puny fruit, or perhaps no fruit at all.
If we resisted the Master when he sought to train us to the wire or we cast off our fruit in the weariness of summer’s heat, the harvest will reveal what has happened. If we stay just close enough to Jesus to survive, our fruit (if any) will be pale and tasteless.
Worse yet, if we only pretended to draw life from Christ but in fact resisted his work in us while serving ourselves, our fruit will bear our own likenss and not his. FRUIT DOESN’T LIE. It expresses the life of the vine. That’s why scripture views the harvest in both positive and negative terms; it demonstrates the quality of our lives, whether good or bad.
Fruit cannot be faked. Though we may be able to pretend a godly attribute for a brief season, in weak and tired moments our lives will reveal our true choices, priorities and attachments. Fruit makes the invisible visible. It shatters all pretense and over time marks the true depth of our friendship with Jesus. Don’t expect grace to cover up your neglect by producing spiritual fruit. Grace restores us to God’s presence. Grace forgives our sins and offers us a fresh start. But grace will never produce fruit when we have not paid the price to remain in the Vine. It will not make up for the times when we have given in to the enemy’s deception. FRUIT DOESN’T LIE.
When it finally appears, it reveals what has been going on in the vineyard through all the seasons. And God’s harvest is often full of surprises. The people we thought were pursuing God may not turn out to be his followers at all. The activities and pursuits in our own lives may turn out to be fruitless–or they may produce the joyful confirmation that we remained in the Vine. *****************
I know the physical harvest may be far removed from our thoughts. Afterall, it is February. But don’t be fooled. The depth of our friendship with Jesus, will be measured by the fruit we bear, no matter what the season.